Malaysia to table bill ending death penalty in October

Malaysia to table bill ending death penalty in October

FILE PHOTO Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu (left) and Brian Yap, representatives from Amnesty International Malaysia, hold copies of a report on the death penalty in Malaysia, during its launch in Petaling Jaya on Oct 10, 2019. (AFP)
FILE PHOTO Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu (left) and Brian Yap, representatives from Amnesty International Malaysia, hold copies of a report on the death penalty in Malaysia, during its launch in Petaling Jaya on Oct 10, 2019. (AFP)

Malaysia expects capital punishment will no longer be mandatory in the country by January, once it obtains the required approvals from parliament, according to Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The government intends to table the draft laws in parliament by October, and it will need to go through both the House of Representatives and the Senate, he said at a briefing on Monday.

Malaysia on Friday announced it had agreed to abolish the mandatory death sentence. The move would allow courts to mete out substitute punishments in cases that currently carry a mandatory death sentence. The 11 such offenses include those committed against the king, terrorism and murder.

To be sure, the neighbouring country has no plans to abolish the death penalty altogether, so judges would still have the option of choosing capital punishment in those cases, said Wan Junaidi.

“I haven’t agreed with the death penalty since 1978,” he said. “So if there are many more of the younger generations thinking along the same line, then perhaps one day we will see the end of the death penalty as well.”

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